In case you missed the memo yesterday, cyclocross season is upon us. As the sun recedes and the leaves fall, it’s time to turn your pedals and jump into the local ‘cross scene.
Portland is lucky to have one of the most vibrant and accessible ‘cross cultures anywhere. Whether you want to race, dip your toes in the mud to try it out, or spectate — these next few months have a lot to offer.
Since you’re busy with life and work and getting your bike and body prepared, we rounded up the details on the local races and clinics so you have it all in one place — and so you have no excuses to not show up.
Races, all week long
If you live in the Portland region you can usually race four days out of the week for the next month or so. We have two excellent series that happen during the week and of course larger races on the weekends.
Portland Trophy Cup (Tuesdays)
We’re very lucky to have the Trophy Cup. It’s a professionally organized weekly race that happens just a few miles from downtown Portland. Every Tuesday through October 4th you’ll be treated to an excellent course and all the ambience you’d expect at a major weekend race. Show up at 5:30 if you want to partake in the cyclocross clinic (see below). Sign up and learn more here.
Blind Date at the Dairy (Wednesdays)
If Tuesdays don’t work for you, or you just want to race twice during the week, check out the always interesting Blind Date series. These races take place at Alpenrsoe Dairy and are full of fun obstacles, twists, and turns. When the sun goes down the lights come on, creating an eerily exciting atmosphere. Show up at 5:00 pm with a little one and turn them loose in kiddie cross! Register to race and learn more here.
The River City Bicycles Cross Crusade is the granddaddy of them all. It’s the world record holder (in terms of participation), the epicenter of ‘cross craziness, and the series that put Portland cyclocross on the map local and nationally. This year there are eight races starting October 8th and running through November 13th. The first three weekends are all doubles — meaning there’s racing scheduled both Saturday and Sunday. This opens up some fun camping opportunities and a chance to discover parts of the region like Cascade Locks in the Gorge and Bend. Get your season pass and start your planning at CrossCrusade.com.
Grand Prix Brad Ross
Speaking of the Crusades, one of the founders and chief instigators of that series is the namesake for this year’s Grand Prix Brad Ross, a five-race series that takes place on Saturdays through October 1st (the first one was last weekend). If you’re bored of the usual Portland race venues you’re sure to find something new and exciting at classic races with legendary names like Het Meer, Zaaldercross, and Ninkrossi. Register and get the full lowdown at Cyclocross.gp
One of the great things about cyclocross is that you can gain — or lose — a lot of time based purely on technical skill. This is great if you have it and a bummer if you don’t. Thankfully there are many opportunities to get better. All you have to do is show up and soak up the knowledge.
Portland Bicycle Studio/Women Bike (TONIGHT, 9/8!)
Women Bike and Portland Bicycle Studio have joined forces to offer this introduction to cyclocross. Organizers says tonight’s clinic is open to all women, female-identifying, trans, and gender-noncomforming people who enjoy having fun on a bike. Come out even if you don’t have a ‘cross bike. A road bike will do and Portland Bicycle Studio will bring a few test bikes you can try out. It all goes down at Alberta Park in northeast Portland. Learn more here.
Western Bikeworks – School of Cross
This northwest Portland bike shop is offering top-notch instruction. They’ve hired certified coach Scott Mares of Crossbikereview.com to teach a four-session class that covers all the bases. Classes include Q & As, video analysis and on-the-bike skills training. There are morning (10:00 am) and afternoon (1:00 pm) sessions and the four classes cost $30 per person. Register and learn more here.
Portland Bicycle Studio clinics (before the Trophy Cup)
Show up early to the Trophy Cup races every Tuesday for a beginner-focused clinic presented by the ‘cross experts at Portland Bicycle Studio. Each week’s classes will focus on specific elements of the course and will build each week for a well-rounded education. Clinics are $10 per session and offered every Tuesday through October 6th from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Location: Portland International Raceway (north of Kenton). Learn more and sign up here.
Gladys Bikes Cross Curious Club
Alberta neighborhood bike shop Gladys Bikes has a different twist on ‘cross education: a riding and social club open to everyone that includes gravel forays in Forest Park and practice sessions every other week. “We aim to have a diverse group of riders. There are no age limits. No fitness tests. No fashion contests,” reads the club’s website. Membership is $50 and comes with a bunch of great benefits. The skill-building and camaraderie all build toward the opening race of the Cross Crusade series in October 8th. Learn more here.
Portland has a great junior development program that goes by the name of PDX Devo. They offer free clinics to all juniors ages 9-18. The classes happen every Thursday night at Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland through September 22nd (sorry we’re late in spreading the word!). Instruction is doled out by top junior coaches and veteran local racers. OBRA membership required. Learn more here.
To help get you stoked, informed and inspired for the season, here are a few things to read.
— Portland Tribune reporter Jennifer Anderson just wrote a piece about the local ‘cross scene from a fun, first-person perspective. It features local ‘cross celebrity, racer, shop owner, team owner, and booster-of-all-things-cyclocross Molly Cameron.
– We’ve shared some useful guest posts here on the site that might come in handy. A newbs-eye view of someone’s first race and a dispatch from a local team’s skills clinic.
– If you’re a visual learner, browse our cyclocross photo archives. We’ve posted nearly 2,000 images from local races going back to 2005!
– To really get enmeshed in the local scene there’s no better place to start than the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. They’ve got an active email list (a great place to score deals on used gear) and the most reliable and comprehensive schedule of races and clinics across the entire state.
Have fun and we’ll see you out there!
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
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***Blind Date at the Dairy is Wednesday nights (not Thursday)
Also! Swift Racing is hosting a beginner women’s clinic at 5 PM before each Blind Date in September (9/14, 9/21, and 9/28). Meet at the bright blue Swift tent and learn how to have fun in your race that night!
Sorry Tim! Fixed it. Thx for the heads up.
Blind Date is on Wednesday, not Thursday!
Doh! Fixed. Sorry.
What’s the best race to go watch that’s bikable/busable from SE Portland?
Blind Dates on Wednesdays, Alpenrose Crusade, and PIR Crusade
The PIR races are super easy to get to – right off the Yellow MAX line.
Corn Cross out in Boring is also pretty accessible. You can either take Springwater out to the end, and it’s just a short distance from there, you can take Max and ride 2 miles from there. Part of it goes through a corn maze, which is pretty great.
Used that OBRA list to purchase a used bike yesterday, got it fixed up today and hoping to hop into my first race on Tuesday. So stoked to give this a try! I’ve really enjoyed the coverage over the last few seasons, it’s definitely given me a push to try.
That is great Kate! So cool to hear. Have fun out there and I will be rooting for you. I’m excited to get out there again this season too.
I’d really like to get into cross for me and for my teenage son, but I doubt either of our bikes would qualify, mine a road bike and his a mountain bike. Are there any organizations or trainers that loan cross specific bikes to participants, either free or for a fee so that they can give it a shot before making the big investment in a new bike?
FWIW, there are plenty of people who race cross on mountain bikes. The road bike would be a bigger stretch, but if you can get some larger cross-specific tires on it you may be able to make it work. Just a thought.
I’d be looking at a sweet Vanilla. You can SHRED with those!
I know someone who has a Vanilla as their pit bike.
My team uses 1 bike for a family with daughter, father, and mother. Make it happen. The mountain bike would work great, and you wouldn’t race at the same time as your son.